By: Christy Means-Smith | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2009
World Champion trick roper Kowboy Kal will perform at the Will Rogers Days birthday party on November 5.
Will Rogers is a well-known, beloved personage throughout the state and the nation. It is fitting that Rogers County, the birthplace of Will Rogers, will be hosting Will Rogers Days November 4 through 8. This year’s celebration, which has been held for over 50 years, marks his 130th birthday.
“People recognize and identify with Will Rogers through his wit and humor, as well as his age-old wisdom,” says Pat Reeder, publicist for the Will Rogers Museum. “In Oklahoma, he is remembered as a Cherokee cowboy. In Hollywood and on Broadway, he was the actor and rope trick artist, and to the world over he was the writer whose daily telegrams were in hundreds of papers and on radio broadcasts every day. He was aviation’s biggest booster at the time of his death. Will Rogers raised millions of dollars for humanitarian purposes all over the world, and people love to read and laugh at his quotes on the wall of the Claremore museum.”
Will Rogers Days will include a parade, the Pocahontas Club annual tribute, a party at Will Rogers’ birthplace ranch, a special day at the museum, and a gala event to close the celebration.
On the first day of the celebration, November 4, the Pocahontas Club will offer a presentation and hat contest honoring Betty Rogers. “Will’s wife, Betty, liked hats; it was a ‘hat time’ then,” says Pat. In addition, the Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club will model traditional Native American attire.
The Pocahontas Club presents a hat contest in honor of Will Rogers’ wife, Betty, November 4.
The birthday party at the ranch takes place November 5. “The ranch birthday party is very popular with the kids,” says Pat. “World Champion trick roper Kowboy Kal is a great entertainer, and Kim Grazier, who is directing a musical production performed by Oologah-Talala Elementary students, is a talented musician and teacher.”
November 6 brings Children’s Day at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum beginning at 10 a.m., with storytelling in the Will Rogers Heritage Gallery and a musical production on stage in the Main Theatre.
On Saturday, November 7, the Will Rogers Days Parade takes place at 4 p.m. “Everybody loves the parade. It usually is about an hour long with floats, cars, marching bands and more,” says Pat.
Will Rogers Days wraps on November 8 with the gala, a program of the Tulsa Will Rogers Rotary. This year the Spirit of Will Rogers Award is to be presented to Vince Gill. According to the Tulsa Will Rogers Rotary, the award is part of the tradition of honoring those who live their lives up to the standards of Will Rogers. The gala, taking place at Cain’s Ballroom at 423 N. Main St. in Tulsa, will include dinner and entertainment. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m., dinner is at 6:30 p.m., and a live auction and special entertainment will follow. The proceeds from this event will, in part, benefit Blue Star Mothers of America, Oklahoma Chapter 1.
Will Rogers Days is a wonderful experience, and a not-to-be-missed opportunity to learn more about this extraordinary man, his family, philosophy and life. More information can be found at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum at www.willrogers.com.
WILL ROGERS DAYS NOVEMBER 4-8
Celebration of 130th Anniversary of Will Rogers’ Birth, Nov. 4, 1879
Wednesday, November 4
Pocahontas Club’s annual tribute
Will Rogers Memorial Museum • 2-4 p.m.
• “Hats Off to Will” honoring Betty Rogers (Will’s wife)
• Special guests Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club modeling traditional native attire
• Donna McSpadden, mistress of ceremonies
• Program in Main Theatre, followed by fall foliage ceremony at the foot of the statue of Will Rogers in the Memorial rotunda and laying a wreath at the family tomb
• Club hosts tea in the Memorial Museum
Thursday, November 5
Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, Oologah • 9 a.m.
• Musical production by Oologah-Talala Elementary students, directed by Kim Grazier, and performance of World Champion Trick Roper Kowboy Kal
• Birthday Cake and Cookies
• Hosted by Will Rogers Memorial Museums, Will Rogers Heritage, Oologah Historical Society, and Oologah Chamber of Commerce
Meeting, Will Rogers Memorial Commission
Will Rogers Memorial • 2 p.m.
Friday, November 6
Robson Performing Arts Center
• Donna McSpadden, mistress of ceremonies
• Featured Artist, Jana Jae (ticketed event)
Saturday, November 7
Parade • 4 p.m.
Will Rogers Gala
Tulsa, time to be announced
Presentation of Spirit of Will Rogers Award by the Rotary Club of Will Rogers (Tulsa ticketed event)